18, 2008, Volume
15 Nr. 6, Issue 237
The Other Opiate of the Masses
and rewritten by Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Stuart Mill, Karl
Marx, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein,
and Jozef Hand-Boniakowski.
Patriotism must be
defined before a patriot can be inferred. The matter in
controversy is the nature of patriotism in the nation. Insidiously
to employ the words allegiance, fidelity and Americanism before
these attributes are made apparent in the United States and then
universally inferring allegiance to a head of state is a common sophism
against which we would be mindful to be vigilant.
- Why do we admit patriotism
in any national interest of our own contrivance? It
is because innumerable instances of the patriotic have
been contrived by human fantasy and presented to the minds
of the masses. We are bombarded by people who
construct what is patriotic, but if we had no previous
knowledge of the patriotic and we had accidentally come
across a flag flapping in the wind, we should have been
justified in concluding that was a mere cloth hung for
some purpose, perhaps merely decorative.
What then do we need
to consider regarding the existence of patriotism? It is
suited perfectly for the production of certain effects that
natural harmony be achieved and no cause for alarm to the State. Thus patriotism requires a
maximum patriarch, a maximum leader, a king or president, who
embodies and further creates and recreates patriotism.
- Until it is clearly
understood that patriotism is a human and willful
construct, we may reasonably suppose that it has existed
forever. It is easy for us to suppose that
patriotism is and has always been than to conceive that it
and all its emotional attachments were created for
explicit purposes, that is to set in motion internal
mechanisms of self-governance and behavior.
It is the essence of
patriotism to elude thinking and every aspect of critical
analysis. Every aspect of patriotism involves an inherent
witness that is bound to evade our examination of it.
- The notion of patriotism
belongs to the rigidity of the mind, and cannot continue
when the human intellect begins to frame a systematic
analysis of it. Patriotism is a malady and like all maladies
is best dealt with as something to remedy.
A spate of visits to
Walter Reed would reveal hundreds or thousands of crutches,
prosthetics, and wheelchairs, all acquired through patriotism's
call to arms, to do battle, to inflate itself with the
importance and acceptance of the self and ultimate sacrifice. There
exists a national presumption that death achieved in patriotic
fervor deserves special attention and even gratitude.
Witness the playing of taps, the 21-gun salute, the crisp
machinery of men marching in the obligatory casket-presenting
parade and the presentation of the folded flag to the grieving
spouse or the next of kin. Interestingly, the
president of the United States does not participate in the
funerals of fallen soldiers. Perhaps, he inherently
understands the dichotomy between patriotic fervor and his being
absent without leave (AWOL)?
- We are as infants in our
recognition of the deleterious effects of
patriotism. We are ignorant from whence in the face
of grave loss we choke up when the colors are presented or
the national anthem is played Patriotism never tries
to interfere with our inability to understand it. It
exists as an ever present aspect of our being, a fact of
life successfully inculcated from an early age from the
habits of our parents and our schooling through the
dominant and domineering paradigms of our culture.
Patriotism's demanding proliferators build upon our
internal proclivity toward something bigger than the
self. In that regard patriotism is a parasitic
infection that often destroys the host and many more times
those branded as its enemies and collateral damage.
Patriotism is an
infection that cares not one whit whether the host survive
only that the parasite continues.
- Patriotism has had its share
in the changes of civilization and the national
character. The lions share. Patriotism is a
drug store. Its contents remain the same but the
patriotic practices change. The level of patriotic
fervor changes and often reaches a fever pitch.
Patriotism's physician, the state, drenches its patient
with equal portions of debilitating duty and
responsibility to nation regardless of correctness.
The medium of righteousness cures any and all allusion of
error committed by the nation-state, the maximum patriarch
or the established ruling class. The imperial
president is as if the Pope with dogmatic infallibility
presented as fact. How George W. Bush can be so
considered is beyond reason but reason has nothing to do
with it. If and when the patient shakes off the
disease of patriotism, it is the patient then that is considered
sick, in need of curing. The patient is in need of being
cured, of being brought back to "right-mindedness".
The media pundits and self-professed "journalists" make sure
that the semblance of right-mindedness is maintained.
The quackery of patriotism, like that of homeopathy,
requires that the patient not evolve, that they remain
static in the robotic stiff upper-lipness that accompanies
a dedication to the blind philosophy of my country right
self-correcting, not of itself but of those who refuse to march
lock-step in it. It evolves in technique and application
only. It does not require that the patriot evolve.
Quite the contrary. The patriot, the addicted patient hooked on patriotism's drug
best not evolve into a questioning citizen. Such
questioning would lead to ending the human abuses perpetuated by
it. It might even lead to a loss of faith in patriotism
and break the addiction it has on its servants.
- During the youthful period
of mankind's political evolution human fantasy created
heroes in the image of citizens who by the operations of
their fidelity were supposed to determine or at any rate
to influence patriotism. Teachers, actors, religious
figures, ministers, journalists, movie producers, talk
show hosts, artists and parents seek to alter the disposition
of the citizenry in the State's favor by means of the
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, the national anthem,
larger than life statues and memorials, appeals to duty,
honor, country, mythos, and of course sacrifice including
the "ultimate sacrifice". Patriotism in
the schools teaches children a sublimation of the concept
of the State as being akin to god. The religious
fervor of patriotism is modeled by the fact that men
appeal to a divine being in the Pledge of Allegiance, that
loyalty oath that begins school assemblies and daily
classes as well as the United States House of
Representatives and the Senate. Meanwhile the adults
along with the children exercise their access to the holy
free market through the exchange of legal tender proclaiming,
"In God We Trust". Patriotism and god
fulfills both the patriots so-called spiritual and
material needs and wants.
will deny that the existence of patriotism is able to accord man
some solace and guidance of sorts; but taken alone without
assessment and analysis, in its simplicity, patriotism is
accessible to and embraced mostly by the underdeveloped mind.
- The main source of the
present-day conflict between patriotism and free-thinking
lies in the concept that the State as a higher entity has
almighty power over the individual, their well being and
even their life. Capital punishment lets the citizen
witness and far too often, experience, that power.
For patriotism to continue, the acceptance of absolute
general validity is required though no proof is necessary.
Patriotism can be
seen as mainly a (computer) program. Faith in the
probability of its accomplishments is founded only upon the
successfully programmed populace being booted-up and
running. We do as we are commanded.
- Few doubt that we are
confronted with a cause and effect connection between
patriotism's activities and the rewards it promises with
adherence thereto. It is a fact, however, that it is
the activities of the citizen as worker, as the producer
of all surplus value and wealth, that creates the
rewards. Mostly these rewards go to the owners of
the workers and not to the workers themselves.
Patriotism creates nothing but a blind and/or wrong-minded
acceptance and adherence to anything its agents
propose. Believing what George W. Bush states is
truth, in defiance of all evidence that he does not tell
the truth, is a good example of the delusion that
patriotism engenders. Almost seven years after the
events of September 11, 2001, a majority of people in the
United States still believe the State propaganda that Iraq
was responsible for 911.
serves a purpose. It is like religion an opiate of the
masses providing a fix, a relief from the failures of the regime
and its promises. Patriotism's appeal is the temporary
relief the addicted undergo when confronted with the hard
realities that the State is corrupt. When as a nation we
are faced with the facts that we have illegally and preventively
invaded and occupied a sovereign nation that was no threat to us
our momentary discomfort is whisked away by patriotic self-righteousness
and chest heaving nationalistic privilege.
- The more a man is inbred
with the ordered regularity of patriotic events and
happenstance the firmer becomes his conviction that there
is no room left to question any aspect of government and
its actions. The doctrine of patriotism always takes
refuge in those domains in which critical thinking skills
have not been able to take root. Without these
critical thinking skills the addict injecting patriotism
into his brain does not realize, nor can he, that his
nationalistic euphoria is a drug-induced quasi-religious
I cannot then
believe in the concepts of patriotism that has the power of
interfering with free thought. The most beautiful and
profound form of freedom is the sensation of the non-existence
of patriotism and the disappearance of the State. It is
the absence of patriotism that frees the mind moving it toward
new imaginings and the realization of human progress.
- Patriotism is more than a
symbol of weakness and confusion. Since our inner
being has a proclivity to accepting mostly the similarities
of all human beings, the concept of differences that
divide people are empty and devoid of meaning. They
are artificial constructs perpetuated by patriotism to
divide people into differing nations and to instill in
each a fear of the other so that the concept of "the
enemy" is well established. There must always
exist an enemy for patriotism to exist. And if there
be no enemy in reality, then one must be invented.
I am convinced that
patriotism and its social activities and the practices and
propaganda of the State are detrimental and dangerous to the
human race. Human beings will quickly and often kill each
other for both patriotism and religion. When the two are
combined together nefarious and heinous crimes result.
Freedom hides its secret because of its essential
loftiness. Patriotism projects freedom's loftiness as a
ruse. Freethinkers have an obligation to expose and
correct this false projection, to break the addiction of
patriotism upon the masses.
- That a man can take
pleasure in the marching in formation to the strains of
a band is enough to make me despise him. He has
only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was
all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization
ought to be abolished with all possible speed.